Sometimes the minuscule becomes so overwhelming that it steals from the truly important.
We live in a condo community where everything is maintained and regulated by an HOA (Home Owner’s Association). They do stuff like make the streets and sidewalks look nice, maintain the pool, tell you what you can and can’t decorate the outside of your house with.
Recently we got a series of notifications from the HOA nitpicking on little details of where we could park our car and where we could put my trash cans. It’s all in the rulebook, so they’re right. But that’s not what got me upset.
We were just following the norms of everyone else in our community. So though we weren’t fully compliant with the rules, neither was anyone else. It felt like they had something against us and were singling us out. Their notices weren’t generic – they were specific to us breaking the rules.
Of course, we complied, but noticed that no one else on our street made those changes either. So clearly, those notices weren’t sent to our neighbors.
Immediately, I felt anger, bitterness and resentment towards the HOA. Sure, it’s a minor thing. And sure, they’re right to ask us to comply if it’s in the rulebook we signed when moving in. But it felt unjust to enforce the rules on only us but no one else.
I started making plans of how I would go around and take pictures of everyone else’s violations on our street, then march into the HOA office asking why they weren’t enforcing the rules for anyone else.
Over the weekend, I started mulling over the situation in my head. I played out the dialogue I would have with the HOA – what I would say, their responses, my counter arguments. I thought through the long-term affect of increased tension and how they would probably scrutinize us more.
And I hated it.
It stressed me out. It engulfed all my mental and emotional energy. It distracted me from all the other good things around me. It made me negative.
So I decided to drop the whole thing. Fix the little things the HOA told us to. Ignore the violations our neighbors had. Then just go on with life.
I could have justified arguing with them. I need to stand up for myself and not be walked on and ensure everything is fair and blah blah blah.
The reality is that this whole situation was causing me unnecessary stress and occupied a space in my life that I didn’t want there. I have far more important things to devote my time and energy towards, and this is not it.
What’s occupying unnecessary space in your life? What are the things that take up your mental energy, that rile up your emotions, that fill up your time, and that turn you bitter?
Drop them. Clear up space.
Stop picking fights to save your pride. There are much more important things to fight for.